Charles Caudrelier winner of the first solo round the world trip on a giant trimaran

After 50 days, 19 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds at sea and more than 28,000 miles (51,000 kilometers) traveled on the seas of the globe, Charles Caudrelier crossed the finish line on Tuesday February 27 around 8:37 a.m. of the Arkéa Ultim Challenge, in Brest. He thus won the first solo round-the-world race contested on giant trimarans.

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Shortly after sunrise, followed on the water by around ten stars, Caudrelier, 50 years old since Monday, wrote a new page in the history of navigation at the helm of the Maxi Edmond-de-Rothschild. The Finisterian, father of two children and already winner of the prestigious Route du rhum in 2022, completed an almost faultless round the world, despite the difficult weather conditions encountered on his route. “No matter how it ends, we had a great race and, I am convinced, we deserve to win”the sailor told AFP, a few days after this arrival.

During his journey, he kept the best solo sailors at bay: Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque-populaire), victim of numerous damages, Thomas Coville (Sodebo) and his eight world tours, Anthony Marchand (Current) or Eric Péron (Adagio).

“The feeling of becoming a machine”

“It’s strange, but I had the impression of becoming a machine, a robot connected to performance, a kind of killer who doesn’t let go of a nautical mile”recounted Caudrelier, “fully connected” to his boat.

Only Tom Laperche (SVR-Lazartigue) resisted Caudrelier’s pace for a while. Approaching the Cape of Good Hope, however, the youngest member of the fleet was forced to abandon after a collision with an unidentified object.

Charles Caudrelier, in Brest, January 5, 2024.

Manhandled by the weather, but spared by bad luck, Caudrelier had to observe two breaks on the course. He first waited several days near Cape Horn, crossed after thirty days of racing, then stopped in the Azores, in the last stretch, to let a storm pass.

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Departing after a three-day stopover, rested and well-shaven, Charles Caudrelier finished the journey in slow motion, much more obsessed with victory than with his time around the world, while preserving his tired boat as much as possible. “He showed reason and wisdom to preserve his boat until the end”said Pierre Hays, from the race director, on Monday.

“Funny race”

His first pursuer, Thomas Coville, expected at the end of the week in Brest, praised this weekend the historic performance of his opponent and the originality of the situation: “Funny race where the first one has the opportunity to stop, go to the hotel and wait for a good window and like a good sailor to leave at the right time, he noted. (…) He will manage well, well done! »

The feat achieved by Charles Caudrelier is a rarity. Since Alain Colas in 1974, only seven sailors have completed a solo round-the-world trip on a trimaran, a much more fragile and risky support than the Vendée Globe monohulls. Caudrelier is therefore the eighth, and the first to complete this loop during a race against other opponents.

The record is still held by François Gabart, who, on December 17, 2017 aboard his maxi-trimaran Macifhad completed his world tour in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

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